CHELTENHAM IN THE RING

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SIMON NOTT BETTING BLOG: Cheltenham Festival Tuesday

Well, all the best songs start like that, we’re finally here, the anticipation is over, you can forget all the books, pullouts, preview nights and probably ante-post bets, it’s what actually happens out there on the sodden Cheltenham turf that matters from today on, writes SIMON NOTT.

Eager to get it on, the Star Sports team were pitched in to their hotel last night and arrived on course well fed early this morning. Some of you may have witnessed last night’s gargantuan fish and chip feed led by professional eater Ben Keith, on video. Very little escapes Star’s social media. I was a non runner for that, driving up up from the shire this morning.

The teams were already pitched in when I arrived, on the Tatts pitch, Steve, Hannah, Tony, and Nick.

Over the rail Ricky, Flynn and Lofty were doing the business.

Ben was due to make an appearance on the pitch after courting his guests in hospitality. He did blow in like a tornado an hour before the first. I got a gentle bollocking for wearing a green suit, Ben’s unlucky colour apparently, not ideal for a turf accountant. I did make amends by once again wearing what I’m told is my ‘lucky’ fedora, it was to keep me fit chasing it a few times such was the wind.

I took time to go over to pitch one on the rail, betting next to Star Sports to wish Gregory Hughes a very happy birthday and many favourable results to celebrate.


1:30 – Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO plus) 2m ½f

The business in Tatts got started early with a £10,000 double Lossiemouth and State Man which worked out to about 13/8. Meanwhile messages from the office were coming in thick and fast in the Supreme including;
Tullyhill £180,000 – £60,000
Tellherthename £200,000 – £10,000
Firefox £105,000 – £15,000

Ben came down to the Tatts pitch with five minutes to go and made his presence felt immediately hollering out the prices.

Fears of a quiet heat with the crowd were unfounded with decent bets flying in thick and fast. They included £15,000 – £5000 Tullyhill in addition to £3000 – £1000, £2700 – £900, £1500 – £500 the same horse.

The crowd had a tremendous start, two first race roars, one for the false start and the second much louder one, the practice must have helped, for the actual off. The roars were even louder when Slade Steel quickened up the hill to fly past Mystical Power.

They returned 7/2 and 10/3 respectively but the turnaround for the firm was about £20,000, the winner copped £12,000 over the two pitches whilst they’d have done £8000 over the runner up, an excellent start over what had been a well-backed winner.


2:10 – My Pension Expert Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5YO plus) 2m

No doubt bolstered by the good news, Ben was back down to the pitch and taking bets as Tony and Hannah were still busy paying out over the winner. Gaelic Warrior opened the 11/4 favourite but that was soon taken, including £5500 – £2000 and £2750 – £1000 on the Tatts pitch. Other early bets included £3500 – £500 Hunters Yarn.

Meanwhile the office reported lively business including Il Etait Temps £110,000 – £20,000 and Hunters Yarn £35,000 – £5000. Over on the rail business was very steady, so steady that Lofty told me they’d laid ‘loads of monkeys’ without being more descriptive. They had the jolly losing plenty so I had to assume several of those £500s had swung into Gaelic Warrior.

Meanwhile back over in Tatts, a punter had £7000 on the jolly at ‘top of the head’ 9/4 leaving that red for the thick end of £26,000, two minutes later Ben was calling 5/2, that’s the ‘rubdown’, it didn’t last too long though, it was 9/4 again at the off. Over the on-course firm the jolly was losing just over £35,000. Fingers crossed.

Well, we won’t be crossing them again. It wasn’t even a race, certainly not the same horse as we saw at the DRF, Gaelic Warrior absolutely trounced them and the firm lost £35,000.

It was only the second heat though, far too early to be thinking about a flat cap for tomorrow though after a good start. The winner returned 2/1 where on Earth did they get that from, there was plenty of 9/4 on course, come racing.


2:50 – Ultima Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5YO plus) 3m 1f

Next up, the first of the big handicaps so it was head down, try and lay as many horses as possible and fill the hod. Of course when you are doing that, you never know what’s going to come in, £7500 – £150 each-way Busselton was a surprise, someone thought they knew something, others popular with the punters early on were The Goffer, Meetingofthewaters and Monbeg Genius.

The office reported one bet of note, £150,000 – £25,000 The Goffer.

Over in the rail Meetingofthewaters was popular too, but to bigger stakes, £5000 at 13/2 to be exact, that’s 100/15 fractions just so people know, if they ever feel like asking for them.

One chap asked his female companion what she liked, when she replied the name Chianti Classico as it reminded her of the wine she liked, he pulled up a wad of notes and had it on, making that a loser at the off too.

Now listen up, you don’t need preview nights, pundits or form books, just a girlfriend with a good taste in wine. Chianti Classico won and the Tatts pitch lost £2000. It was a happier if not quite such a romantic story on the rail, they won £5500 so a decent cop of £3500 across the two pitches going into the Champion Hurdle.


3:30 – Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO plus) 2m ½f

So, onto the Champion Hurdle, State Man opened ‘eyes-on’ 2/5 and pretty much the first bet in the book was a monkey at the price, then £2500 then a grand then £5000, then £10,000, it looked likely to be a lively heat.

The bets just kept coming, grands, monkeys, bottles and bullseyes all on the jolly. It was wonderful to see that the money buying punters were out in force. Those that waited for the 2/5 go to 4/9 learned to rue their optimism, 4/11 it was.

The going was changed to Heavy, Soft in Places but still the punters were not deterred, £400, £500, £1000, £1500, £5000 bets flowed in all at 4/11 meanwhile over on the rail, Lofty was saying hold my beer, they’d laid £20,000 – £55,000 and £4000 – £11,000, there were proper punters on the premises. At the off the firm stood to lose £40,000 over the two pitches.

Oh dear.

So State Man bolted up and right on the heels of that financial disaster, another hotpot in Lossiemouth. As betting got underway, the replay of the Champion Hurdle boomed out, ominous warning and rubdown in equal measure. The cry went up, ‘More Readies!’ It’s been heard before at this meeting but not quite so early.


4:10 – Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle (Registered As The David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle) (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO plus) 2m 4f

Now there was the little matter of another odds on banker and the second leg of the £10,000 double reported at the head of this blog and punters with the smell of bookie’s money in their nostrils. A punter bet €6000 and another £5000. The office brought news of £2,000 E/W on Echoes In Rain at 16/1.

It was frenetic down in the ring, but the ring needed a result, badly.

They didn’t get one. Ian Bartlett is known for going into raptures if a jolly looks in trouble, that glee wasn’t forthcoming. Lossiemouth didn’t just win, she bolted up. Old fivers and mouldy paper scores were already being called back into active service just to pay the punters, and you think I’m joking.

A very small saving grace message from the office was that a £50,000 – £5000 each way Love Envoi with them went astray.


4:50 – Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Registered As The Fred Winter) (Premier Handicap) (GBB race) (Class 1) (4YO only) 2m ½f

They bet 7/2 the field in the penultimate. Maybe things would calm down a bit and more ammo could be found around the firm just in case the last two bogies went in as well.

Well, you’d like to think so, but when all the short ones go in the punters open their shoulders. £16,000 – £4000 was bet Milan Tino, you didn’t see 4/1 on the show did you, come racing.

There were also some decent bets on the second-in Liari including £150,000 – £20,000 reported from the office and plenty enough to put that one red in the Tatts book too. Another bet to note from headquarters was Milan Tino £55,000 – £10,000. Over on the rails they were busy but not lumpy fielding plenty of money and making a tidy book. This really would have been the time for a good old fashioned result.

Thank goodness Lark In The Mornin’ winnin’ at 9/1 was at least a breather. The firm copped £7000 back despite laying a monkey each-way over the winner at 8/1. At least it was a step in the right direction.


5:30 – Maureen Mullins National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys’ Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5YO plus) 3m 6f

Next up, the lucky last, which really felt like a rearguard action, Ben, in the tradition of most generals had already retired to the rear echelons by now.

The team didn’t expect the finale to be a quiet retreat from action and and they were correct it was bloody lively. The rails laid £6000 on Embassy Gardens at 7/4, Tatts £10,000 the same horse at 13/8. Those bets were followed in with a £6000 – £1000 Apple Away.

Avid blog reader and twitter/follower @BobBoston wanted a mention and bet £100 on Corbetts Cross, you’re in Bob, thanks for coming over.

The rails were cracking on laying ‘monkeys and roufs’ Corbetts Cross and added another grand the jolly and another grand Corbetts and so it went on, good business. Then over at Tatts, another bet, £3600 at 9/4 Corbetts Cross, followed by another £2000 at 9/4 the same horse. Not be left out the rails laid £22,500 – £10,000.

Mind you, add all that up and take it away from the £82,300 that the Tatts pitch alone was losing going into the race and you’ll start to get the picture.

The office came through with a bet, £60,000 at 15/8 Embassy Gardens, the whole firm needed a good old fashioned result, desperately.

It’s no fun watching bad losers win as easily as Corbetts Cross did, especially within a sea of delirious winners. Small consolation was that the winner was the best of the losers in the Tatts book, bad for £4000.

Mind you, I nearly got my head barked off by Lofty for asking how theirs was. His answer was something along the lines of ‘How do you fornicating think it was’. They lost £23,000 on the race so taking their hit to over £50,000. Day one at Cheltenham a nightmarish day at the office.

Lofty started on with a bit of gallows humour adding that today losing £23,000 on a race was almost like winning.

It was carnage in the ring, people were literally asking each other for readies. There’ll be a run on the banks tomorrow. Carnage I tell you. We’ll back tomorrow, hopefully, card only! ( only joking ).

Meanwhile, the news from the office ‘With 3 Mullins winners, it was never going to be easy, however despite Corbett Cross being well backed in the last it did prevent further damage, we do have a few multis rolling over, but we’ve actually ended day 1 in front.’

Sorry Michael but the fedora is being retired.


Tuesday’s Racing Post results from Cheltenham


Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.


Simon Nott is author of: Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring
available on Kindle 
CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS


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